(More) Cash For Clunkers
By all accounts, the federal “Cash for Clunkers” program, launched this week, has been a success. Many Americans have flocked to car dealerships across the country in hopes of turning in their heaps for a rebate of up to $4500 towards the purchase of more efficient car. That’s the hope of the new program. We’re being told that this spending incentive will not only spur the economy out of its miserable recession, but also help reduce the carbon footprint in our car-obsessed society.
As of yesterday, the program, officially called the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), apparently ran out of its initial $1 billion government funding, leading some to believe that dealers would be left to foot the bill if there was no fresh infusion of cash from Washington. (As such, the program currently asks dealers to get reimbursed by the government.)
The program has been almost too good for its own sake: all 225,000 cars that would be funded have apparently been accounted for, which may explain why car dealers complained that the government website slowed to a crawl in the past couple of days. This morning, the House passed an additional $2 billion to replenish the program, although the Senate won’t be able to deal with this until next week.
So while Fox News reporters stake out the car dealerships and declare this one another failure of the Obama Administration, I’ve been intrigued by the reports that take place at the wrecking yards. You see, in order for consumers to get their rebates, they also must have their car completely destroyed. Or, technically speaking, the engine must be gutted or paralyzed, which would prevent the cars from being re-sold. According to the cool car website Jalopnik, dealers have to follow explicit rules in getting rid of these clunkers.
If not, they face a stiff $15,000 fine.
Engine Disablement Procedures for the CARS Program
Before we get to the graphic stuff, let’s look at this nifty how-to list that the Department of Transportation has provided all dealers in order to correctly kill the engines of these supposedly wasteful cars:
THIS PROCEDURE IS NOT TO BE USED BY THE VEHICLE OWNER!
Perform the following procedure to disable the vehicle engine:
1. Obtain solution of 40% sodium silicate/60% water. (The Sodium Silicate
(SiO2/Na2O) must have a weight ratio of 3.0 or greater.)
2. Drain engine oil for environmentally appropriate disposal.
3. Install the oil drain plug.
4. Since the procedure is intended to render the engine inoperative, drive or move the vehicle to the desired area for disablement.
5. Pour enough solution in the engine through the oil fill for the oil pump to circulate the solution throughout the engine. Start by adding 2 quarts of the solution, which should be sufficient in most cases.
CAUTION: Wear goggles and gloves. Appropriate protective clothing should be worn to prevent silicate solution from coming into contact with the skin.
6. Replace the oil fill cap.
7. Start the engine.
8. Run engine at approximately 2000 rpm (for safety reasons do not operate at high rpm) until the engine stops. (Typically the engine will operate for 3 to 7 minutes. As the solution starts to affect engine operation, the operator will have to apply more throttle to keep the engine at 2000 rpm.)
9. Allow the engine to cool for at least 1 hour.
10. With the battery at full charge or with auxiliary power to provide the power of a fully charged battery, attempt to start the engine.
11. If the engine will not operate at idle, the procedure is complete.
12. If the engine will operate at idle, repeat steps 7 through 11 until the engine will no longer idle.
13. Attach a label to the engine that legibly states the following:
This engine is from a vehicle that is part of the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS). It has significant internal damage caused by operating the engine with a sodium silicate solution (liquid glass) instead of oil.
It all sounds so clinical, doesn’t it? Well, wait til you actually see and hear how they do this. We want to warn you that the following video is disturbing on so many levels. It’s positively sad, in a way that almost mimics the torturous, agonizing gutting of –OK, I’ll say it, a human being.
Watch as this 2001 Volvo S80 sedan is painfully given the sodium silicate (aka “liquid glass”) solution that effectively brings the car from hurtling, convulsive and screaming whistles to a desperate, gasping, all-out whimpers and eventual paralysis. Pardon the graphic description, but it’s all we can do to make sense of this brutal act.
Some of you may want to look away at this car euthanasia, especially if you like Volvos (some have commented since that this particular model has a shoddy GM engine, and not the solid Swedish engines of before).
America, this is your government and economy at work, in search of a better and more efficient tomorrow, for everyone:
The Jeep Cherokee didn’t last quite as long:
“Killing” the Chevy:
An Olds Aurora Bites The Dust:
The Caprice Never Had a Chance:
The Ford Bronco Bites the Big One:
This 4Runner Ran Its Last Mile:
Make ‘Em Dodge Tough:
Built Ford Tough (V10):